My target was to encourage the students to explore the bio-based product and material samples and posters about bioeconomy as well as to share their thoughts and views about forest bioeconomy and sustainability in their daily lives. For exploration, I had collected large number of samples with me to show and feel. There were samples of, for example, bio-based kitchen utensils, packing materials, waterproof composite for bathroom furniture, 3D-printing granulate and biodegradable casting material. Some of them can replace the plastic-made products or materials, some even cast or ceramics.
Many students came to me and started discussion by themselves, some I hunted from the track passing by. The discussions varied from challenges in figuring out the background information of different eco-labels to Finns’ eating habits and from sustainable clothing to future research needs. Among all bio-based product and material samples I had with me, the elephant poo paper was the most attractive! (And, off course, the candies that were offered by the students co-hosting these workshops.)
In BLOOM, we have co-created contents and means to reach out to young people. From the co-creation process, we know that the students are very interested in replacing fossil-based products and materials with more sustainable alternatives. Young people are also known to be concerned about sustainability in general. In co-creation, young people wished us to come in schools and showcase the possibilities of bioeconomy and to discuss the topic with them.
This joint exploration showed us that it is definitely perfect to join in the schools and to have a two-way-dialog with people about topics related to wood-based bioeconomy and sustainability issues, e.g. eco-labels and challenges with them. This experience showed me that especially the unusual products (e.g. elephant poo paper) can attract people, who usually are not interested in sustainability, to share their thoughts with me!
Special thanks to Let’s get global staff in Jyväskylän Lyseo Secondary School for empowering eco-workhops!
Written by Kirsi Knuuttila from JAMK University of Applied Sciences